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Newark Basics

 “The New Newark” is the catchy buzz phrase used by those rightly optimistic about the future of New Jersey’s largest city, which is also the third-oldest city in the United States, surpassed only by New York and Boston. Just 13 miles southwest of midtown Manhattan, Newark is the birthplace of politician and statesman Aaron Burr, jazz great Sarah Vaughan, writer Allen Ginsberg and musician Paul Simon. It is also home to Newark Liberty International Airport, the first major metropolitan airport in the United States and the New York metropolitan area’s busiest in terms of flights. In the last century, the city of Newark has seen its share of ups and downs. 

Throughout the 20th century, Newark experienced tremendous population and industrial growth, with European immigrants pouring in and companies such as Benjamin Moore paints, Ballantine Beer and the Murphy Varnish Company providing employment for thousands of workers. More recently, the Portuguese community has grown as immigrants from Brazil and Africa’s Cape Verde Islands have moved there, strengthening the city’s reputation as “Little Portugal.” However, by the 1960s, years of urban decline and racial tensions caused the turbulent Newark Riots of 1967, which resulted in a mass exodus of families to the suburbs. It’s taken a while, but the city of Newark is finally bouncing back. In 2009, in fact, the Sundance Channel began airing Brick City, a five-part documentary about Newark’s mission to become a better and safer place to live. 

Newark today is on the edge of a renaissance, with new businesses, buildings and development popping up throughout downtown. The city is a thriving cultural hub, filled with musical and sports events and attractions for visitors from across the globe. The Prudential Center, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the Newark Museum have put Newark on the map as a destination for large-scale entertainment, while the city is also home to a handful of reputed colleges and universities. And if you’re a foodie, you’ll find culinary adventures galore in Newark, with Portuguese, Spanish, Brazilian and soul food restaurants peppered throughout this eclectic metropolis. It’s easy to enjoy the global culture of this fascinatingly diverse city.

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